Road to Valdez, Alaska


August 2006


The drive to Valdez was one of the most spectacular drives so far, passing near the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the nation's largest national park.  We stopped at the Visitor Center where they play a wonderful movie with lots of aerial footage of the park because it is inaccessible otherwise except by wilderness trails.  The four major peaks of the range were visible along part of our route.  The Wrangell Mountains, along with the St. Elias Mountains to the east contain the most fantastic array of glaciers and ice fields outside polar regions.  We also stopped at the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Site, a privately owned park, for a closer view of the 27-mile long valley glacier.   Four miles wide where it ends, most of it averages two miles wide.  As we approached  Thompson Pass, a beautiful alpine area and the highest point of this leg of our journey, he Worthington Glacier became visible and remained visible through the windshield for several miles.  For the last 150 years this glacier has been steadily retreating, but because it collects about 28 feet of snow at its upper basin it is not likely to completely disappear.  At Keystone Canyon, with other like-minded tourists, we stopped to take pictures of Bridal Veil Falls.  There we recognized a gentleman from Texas that we had met in Fairbanks on the 4th of July.   He was heading up a caravan of four RVs, all from Texas. 

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